Government ‘abysmally failing’ to support people with dementia – Sen. Colette Kelleher

In its three Budgets, this Government has failed to adequately fund supports for people with dementia. That’s according to Senator Colette Kelleher and Marty Butler TD who co-chair the All-Party Oireachtas Group on Dementia, which today (19.09.19) published its Budget 2020 submission.

The submission was compiled following hearings by the All-Party Oireachtas Group on Dementia involving people with dementia, their families, medical practitioners and leading expects in the area.  The hearings focused on how best to enhance supports for people with dementia.

Speaking today, Senator Kelleher said: “The Government has abysmally failed to support people with dementia. Three Budgets have been implemented by this government, but no meaningful efforts have been made to address the shortfall in supports for people with dementia. The All-Party Oireachtas Group on Dementia has repeatedly requested a meeting with the Minister for Health, to brief him on our budget asks, and we are very disappointed that he has not yet been able to meet us.

“A great deal of work has been carried out by the members of the Group, to deliver a comprehensive budget submission, which outlines practical steps the Government can take to make a real and positive difference for people with dementia. It is my hope the Government recognises the effective cross-party work of our Group and acts upon our recommendations.”

Budget submission recommendations

The Budget submission of the All-Party Oireachtas Group on Dementia contains four key recommendations for investment:

  • €7.415m to address the community service gap;
  • €1.68m for Dementia Advisers; an incremental increase from 9 to 33 posts by 2023;
  • €1m for Regional Centres of Excellence for people with Down syndrome and dementia; and
  • €6m for dementia home care, moving towards €24m by 2023.

There are currently 55,000 people with dementia in Ireland. It is expected this figure will more than double to 132,828 by 2041.

“If the Government does not deliver on our budget recommendations, it will leave itself a shameful legacy in terms of supporting people with dementia,” said Senator Kelleher.  “The numbers of people with dementia are increasing, but investment in supports for them is being completely overlooked.  We need urgent action in the 2020 Budget to address this.”